The Supply Management Certification for Students

Launch Your Professional Career with the APSM™

The Associate Professional in Supply Management™ (APSM™) certification classes and self-study program allow active ISM student members to take control of their career development. During the beginning of a supply chain career, an APSM certification helps you stand out from the professional competition.

Ideal for those with one to two years left in their academic career, the APSM certification—which is valid for five years—gives you the first step toward achieving the globally recognized gold standard Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) certification, which requires at least three years of professional experience.

The APSM emphasizes the major competencies of supply management including:
  • Sourcing
  • Category Management
  • Negotiation
  • Legal and Contractual
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Financial Analysis

Become an ISM Student Member and Start Your APSM Journey.

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A Path to CPSM® Certification

The APSM exam (Supply Management Core) is the same Supply Management Core exam it takes to earn a CPSM certification. This makes the APSM exam a step toward earning a CPSM. Once you have your APSM certification and meet CPSM requirements, you will only need to take and pass the remaining two CPSM exams to earn your CPSM certification.

Learn About CPSM

Become APSM Certified: The Certification Process

Eligibility Requirements

Must be an active ISM student member to become APSM certified.

Study & Prepare

We offer an individual exam learning system to help you break your studying into smaller pieces.

Purchase & Schedule Exam

One you have passed your exam, you’re ready to apply for certification.

Pass Exam & Complete Application

Once you have fulfilled eligibility experience and passed your exam, you’re ready to apply for certification.

Not a member?

Become an ISM student member and take the first step toward earning your APSM certification.


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Study for the APSM Certification

Individual Exam Learning System

If you want to break your studying into smaller pieces...

Start with the learning system for an individual exam. The learning system contains just what you need to study for the APSM exam.

  • Structured study plan
  • Flashcards & games
  • Progress & performance tracking
  • A diagnostic practice exam with immediate results
  • Study Guide
  • ISM Professional Series
  • Diagnostic Practice Exam
  • ISM Glossary of Key Supply Management Terms
  • Access for six months from the time of purchase

Less than $575. Become a student member or log in to see exact pricing.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the criteria to obtain the APSM?

An active ISM student membership is required to obtain the APSM certification.

Do you offer reimbursement through the GI Bill?

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reimburses for APSM Exam fees.


Our exams are specifically approved for the GI Bill. The VA can pay only for the cost of the tests and not other fees connected with obtaining the or APSM (study materials, application fees, etc.).



The Montgomery GI Bill (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30)


  • VEAP (also called Chapter 32), or


  • Dependents Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35) (DEA is a benefit for children, spouses, and surviving spouses of veterans with 100% service-connected disability or who died in service or due to service-connected disability.)


You can receive up to $2,000 per test (but not more than the cost of the test). There is no limit to the number of tests you can take.


For more details please visit When using the search feature, keep in mind that ISM is located in the state of Arizona.

How long will it take to get my APSM?

Typically, it takes an individual 6 months to complete the APSM. You must complete while an active ISM student.

What content is covered in the APSM Exam?

There is one APSM™ exam (Supply Management Core) and is the same Supply Management Core exam that must be passed for the CPSM® certification. Below is a break-down of the exam, with the number of questions and time allowed. See the Exam Specifications for further details.

Supply Management Core

Section Name                                                               # of Questions

Sourcing                                                                       50

Category Management                                             10

Negotiation                                                                  14

Legal & Contractual                                                    21

Supplier Relationship Mgmt                                     43

Cost & Price Mgmt                                                      10

Financial Analysis                                                         9

180 Questions

165 Scored | 15 Unscored

3 Hours

How is the Exam scored? What is passing?

ISM maintains multiple versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Different forms of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to account for differences in test difficulty. The passing score is not calculated based upon percentages.

For example, let's suppose we have two test forms of an exam — Test A and Test B. Now suppose it is established that in order to pass Test A, a person must answer 32 out of 60 questions correct. Furthermore, suppose that Test B is somewhat easier than Test A. To compensate for this difference, the passing score for Test B is adjusted to prevent any "bonus" being given to the candidates taking Test B. Thus, it may be established that a candidate must get a score of 34 out of 60 on Test B in order to pass. This is test equating. It holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.

Due to this method of equating the percentage of correct answers varies from exam to exam. Then, to maintain consistency in scoring, a second statistical procedure called scaling is used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from 100 to 600 with a passing score set at 400. Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. If the scaled score on the Supply Management Core Exam ranges from 100 to 390, this means you failed that Exam. If the scaled score is in the range of 400 to 600, you passed that Exam. Scaling on the CPSD Essentials in Supplier Diversity exam follows this same methodology.

What do I do if I fail an exam? Can I re-take the exam?

If you fail an exam, you should use the score report that you receive from the test center to re-focus your study effort on any task area(s) where you did not answer approximately 75% of the questions correctly. Then revisit the study material you used to prepare for the exams and purchase additional sources if more in-depth studying is needed.

To re-test, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee.

ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the APSM™ exam. If you are unsuccessful on an exam, you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific exam.

Am I able to see the questions that I got wrong on an exam?

Specific exam questions and answers are not made public. A score report for each exam is provided upon completion. The score report provides detail about the task areas where questions were missed. Task areas that you answered less than 75% of the questions correct is an area that requires more study.

How long are my APSM exam scores valid?

The APSM™ certification is valid for five years and recertification is not available. During those 5 years, you are eligible to convert to a CPSM® certification, with the passing of the Leadership and Transformation in Supply Management and Supply Management Integration exams. The APSM™ certification is not eligible for recertification, and therefore, there is no grace period.

How do I register for the APSM exam? How do I know where the closest test center is located?

Your exam registration is valid for six months from the day ISM processes your registration. Payment is required in advance. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.

Individual candidate testing is done at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and can be scheduled at your convenience.

Register Online

What kind of identification (I.D.) will I need in order to test?

For your exam, you must bring one valid photo I.D. with signature that exactly matches the name on your exam registration.


Your I.D. MUST be one of the following:


  • Driver's License*


  • Passport*


  • Military I.D.*


  • Official State, Government, or National I.D.


  • Employee I.D.


  • Student I.D.


  • Photo credit card


No other forms of I.D. will be accepted.


*Driver's License, Passport and Military IDs that have a digital signature encoded will only be accepted as valid ID if accompanied by another valid ID with signature.


Note: On the day of your exam, if you are unable to produce a valid I.D. matching the name in ISM's database, you will not be allowed to test and all registration fees will be forfeited.


Note: Pearson VUE uses biometrics in all test centers. Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physical characteristic and are primarily used to combat identity fraud. One such method involves the examinee placing a palm on a scanner, which results in an electronic palm print.


What else should I know about taking my exam at a Pearson VUE Test Center?

  • Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, you will be considered a "no show" and your exam fees will be forfeited.


  • You will be required to leave all personal belongings in a locker. This includes bags, cell phones, watches, wallets, notes, books or other materials not authorized for this exam.


  • An erasable note board and pen will be provided for the exam. They will be collected at the end of the test.


  • Calculators will be also be provided.


  • Wear comfortable, layered clothing. Test center temperatures vary.

How do I reschedule or cancel an existing appointment?

To reschedule or cancel your test appointment, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 24-hours prior to the scheduled local testing time. For example, an 8:30am appointment on Monday must be rescheduled by 8:30am on Sunday (all times are local). If you do not reschedule or cancel your appointment in time, all funds are forfeited.


Fees may apply if any changes or cancellations are made within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment time.


Please DO NOT call your local Pearson VUE test center to make appointments or cancel or reschedule appointments.

How do I apply and check the status of my application?

After you have met all requirements, you will need to apply for certification. You can apply online here.


Application processing may take up to 4 weeks. We offer a rush service for an additional fee. If rush service is purchased, we guarantee that your application will be reviewed within 2 business days.

How long is my APSM valid?

The APSM™ certification is valid for five years.

What if I want to become CPSM certified?

Once you have obtained your APSM™, you will need to take the Supply Management Integration and Leadership and Transformation in Supply Management exams before the five-year mark, for this to roll into a CPSM® certification. There will be no renewals for the APSM™, and if the five years runs out before the other two CPSM® exams have been taken, than you will have to retake the Supply Management Core exam, too, to qualify for the CPSM®.

Once earned, how do I maintain my APSM?

Your APSM™ certification is valid for 5 years and is not eligible for recertification. However, within that 5 years, you may convert to a CPSM® certification, with the passing of the Leadership and Integration exams.

What are the requirements for the online exam?

In order to ensure the proper environment for proctored exams, you must have a quiet, private location, a reliable computer with a webcam, access to one of the approved internet browsers, and a strong internet connection. It is your responsibility to verify your computer meets the technical requirements to take the online proctored exam. Please review the technical requirements on the Pearson Vue Online Exam page under Additional Information. It is also your responsibility to run a system test BEFORE registering for an online proctored exam. Visit the Pearson Vue online exam page to run a system test.

How do I purchase an online exam?

Whether you decide to take your exams at a testing center or online, the purchase process on the ISM website is the same. After purchasing your exam, your purchase confirmation email will contain details about how to schedule your exam through Pearson Vue. After you’ve selected the exam you want to take, choose the “home or office” option. Follow the remaining prompts to complete the scheduling process. Once you have successfully scheduled your exam appointment, you will be sent a confirmation email that will provide you with your appointment details and important things to know for your exam.

Is the online exam proctored?

Like the exams taken at a Pearson VUE testing center, online proctored exams are also live proctored. The only difference is that with online proctored exams, you are monitored by a remote proctor, along with enhanced security features and artificial intelligence technology.

What languages do the proctors speak?

The proctors speak English. In order to take an online proctored exam, you must be able to communicate verbally in English with the proctor. If you are unable, or not comfortable doing so, please schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE testing center.

Are there any geographic limitations for taking the online proctored exam?

Online exams are currently not available in the People's Republic of China, Japan, Slovenia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.

Is there any financial assistance available to help pay for certification?

Candidates in the U.S. may be able to receive financial assistance to help pay for certification. You can use CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, to see if you are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for certification.  Please visit:

An American Job Center in your local area is also a great resource, please visit to find a local center.

How can I obtain a replacement certificate?

You can find the replacement certification request form and instructions here.

Once I purchase the learning system (study material), how long do I have before I must purchase/take the exam?

After purchasing the APSM™ Supply Management Core learning system, you will have access to it for six months. You can purchase the APSM™ exam any time you are ready; there is no deadline as to when you must take the exam.

Is the APSM™ Supply Management Core learning system (study materials) available digitally?

Yes, the APSM™ Supply Management Core learning system will only be offered digitally and will allow you to study at your own pace on your own time.

Are APSM™ certifications available for a group of students from the same university?

Yes. For more information about certifying 5 or more individuals, please contact Member Services at or +1 480-752-6276 option 8.